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Policy/Advocacy

MACTA acts as your advocates at the Minnesota Legislature and at the federal level. We're working to improve telecommunications for cities like yours.

 

October 26, 2018


FCC Threatens Cable Franchise Fees and PEG

Members,

The FCC is proposing new rules that will significantly reduce your cable franchise fees and impact PEG channels. Every local franchising authority will be impacted by the proposed new rules, likely including states with video franchising laws. As indicated in the Overview, some jurisdictions are estimating a 30% reduction in fees, while others may lose nearly all of their cable franchise fees, and many may be forced to cut PEG services should the proposed rules be adopted. The FCC must hear from you about the impact these proposed rules will have on your community.

Please take a look at the general and PEG templates that you may use to submit your comments directly to the FCC, as discussed in more detail below, as well as a detailed Overview of the proposed rules and their potential impacts on local governments. Comments on the proposed rules must be filed with the FCC on or before November 14, 2018 and reply comments must be filed on or before December 14, 2018. Instructions on how to file are below.

Act Now – Tell the FCC and Your Federal Delegation How the FNPRM Hurts Your Community
Local governments need to make their voices heard in opposition to the rules proposed in the FNPRM. You can do that by filing comments and/or reply comments in the FNPRM docket; meeting with FCC staff and Commissioners to explain the impacts the proposed rules would have on your community; and educating your elected federal Congressional delegation of the impacts of the FNPRM.

Comment in the FNPRM Proceeding

We have provided two templates that may be helpful in filing comments and/or reply comments with the FCC. One template is a “general” template that provides suggested topics for local governments to address in their comments. The other template is designed specifically for PEG access providers and those who want to focus on the PEG-related implications of the FNPRM. The templates are intended as guidelines to help you draft your own comments; they are not designed to be submitted as drafted. The FCC may discount comments that appear to be identical, so we urge you to use your own words and provide as much detail as possible about the potential impacts of the proposed rules to your community. The attached Overview includes a list of potential impacts of the rules that may be useful in developing specific examples to include in your comment or reply. Please feel free to contact me directly if you would like additional assistance.

NATOA is working with the Alliance for Community Media to ensure that the PEG-related impacts of the proposed rules are well documented in the record. To that end, the PEG-specific template includes a suggestion that you provide a link in your comments to a video demonstrating what communities will lose should the FCC succeed in diminishing or destroying local programming. This could be a new video you produce that includes, for example, comments from state and local elected officials and residents expressing the value of their local PEG channels, or it could be a link to existing programming that reflects the importance of local voices in your community. As noted in the template, the FCC may not consider the video itself to be part of the record, so we encourage you to describe the video in your comments, including why it demonstrates the value of your work and/or quoting speakers in the video (particularly elected officials) stating their support for local programming. We encourage those using the “general” template to provide a link to videos as well, if applicable.

Educating Your Federal Congressional Delegation

We strongly encourage you to send copies of your comments and videos to your federal Congressional delegation. It may be helpful to include a brief cover letter or email indicating that you are providing a copy of comments filed with the FCC to ensure the Senator/Representative is aware of your community’s opposition to the FCC’s proposed new rules impacting cable franchise fees and local programming. You should also consider sending more detailed letters, setting up meetings and otherwise engaging with your delegation to stress the importance of this issue to local governments.

Instructions for Filing Comments or Reply Comments with the FCC

To file, you may use this link to get to the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System. This screen includes many blanks, but you are not required to complete them all. You need only fill out: Proceeding (use 05-311); Name of Filer (use entity name); Attorney/Author Name (use name of person who authored or is filing comments); Primary Contact Email; Type of Filing (select Comment from the drop down menu if filing on or before September 14th; or Reply to Comments if filing between September 15th and December 14th); Address; City; State; Zip Code. After completing the form, upload the document with your comments. We suggest you check the box “Email Confirmation” directly above the “Continue to review screen” button to ensure you receive email confirmation that the comments have been filed. After clicking “Continue to review screen,” review the information you entered on the first page. If everything is correct, you must click on “Submit” at the bottom of the page, which will take you to a final confirmation page. (If you made errors, you may return to the first page to make corrections before clicking “Submit.”)

Nancy L. Werner
NATOA General Counsel

 

 

 

October 23, 2018

Recent Comments Submitted to FCC

Submitted Ex Parte Presentation, Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, WT Docket No. 17-79; Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, WC Docket No. 17-84.

 

On September 19, MACTA submitted a joint letter with the League of Minnesota Cities. The letter expressed our continued support of the efficient deployment of 5G technology, but also the concern that deployments impact the public assets of each municipality, rely upon public resources (e.g. public poles and power), use shared antenna systems, necessitate adequate public protections, and warrant receiving fair market consideration.

Thank you to the LMC for submitting this letter and to the many other MACTA member cities and commissions that also submitted letters. I know there was a great response from Minnesota.

 

NCTA June 11, 2018 Letter in Wireline Infrastructure, WC Docket No. 17-84

 

NATOA General Counsel Nancy Werner thanked and congratulated four MACTA members from Minnesota (Bloomington, NDC4 Cable Commission, Southwest Suburban Cable Commission and St. Louis Park) for filing ex parte comments on the NCTA request for rulemaking. The letters were cited in the footnotes of the FCC Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that relates to franchise fees offsets for in-kind contributions and LFA authority over non-cable services provided by franchised cable providers.

 

Our local government rebuttals to the NCTA filing are now included in the record, along with the list of 12 preemptive actions that the NCTA requested from the FCC. 

 

Thanks to other Minnesota cities who also filed comments.

 

July 25, 2018

 

Federal Preemption Threats Related to Broadband Deployment

Members Urged to Submit Letters of Opposition

Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, WT Docket No. 17-79; Accelerating Broadband Deployment, Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, GN Docket No. 17-83; Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, WC Docket No. 17-84; Streamlining Deployment of Small Cell Infrastructure, WT Docket No. 16-421.

 

Dear MACTA Members,

 

The FCC has several pending proceedings addressing broadband deployment in which the Commission is considering significant preemption of local authority that is likely to impact cable services.

 

After meeting recently with FCC staff NATOA and the National League of Cities believes the FCC assumes that small cells are small and easy to deploy, justifying short shot clocks and low caps on permit costs, for example.

 

“It is not clear that the range of issues local government has to address—ensuring ADA clearance, pole load issues, line of sight for vehicles/pedestrians, other utilities operating in the same space, etc.—are well understood by the FCC,” noted NATOA’s General Counsel Nancy Werner.

 

Industry has been meeting regularly with FCC staff, so its perspective is well documented. Some of what industry is proposing includes: shot clocks on local review and approval of use of the rights of way (ROW), municipal poles and other public property by small cell providers/hosts; deemed granted remedies when the shot clock expires; caps on fees for use of the ROW and for use of poles/other public property; limits on authority to manage the location and aesthetics of deployments, including mandates that small cell antennas (including poles) and equipment be allowed above-ground where other utilities have been undergrounded.

 

The FCC needs to hear our stories. We are urging you to submit letters clearly articulating the practical issues your local governments must address and manage, as well as opposition to preemptive action by the FCC to better illustrate how industry’s proposals will impact our communities.

 

NATOA has offered a general template that may be helpful in drafting a letter to file in these dockets. Please feel free to use it as a guide as you document your city’s issues and perspectives. It is important for local governments to build a presence in all of the dockets listed in the template, which you can do by including each docket in the subject line of the letter (as provided in the template) and listing each docket number in the “Proceeding(s)” section of the FCC’s electronic comment filing system.

  

You have the option of e-filing as either an attachment at www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings or as an express filing at www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express.

 

Minnesota cities may file their letters with the FCC between now and September 20.

 

 

MACTA to Share LMC Opposition to S. 3157 Bill

Members also encouraged to submit letters

 

The League of Minnesota Cities recently sent a letter to Senator Amy Klobuchar and copied Senator Tina Smith and eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives, opposing the S.3157 (Thune & Schatz Small Cell Bill), which proposes to significantly preempt local government authority over small cell deployments and use of municipal property (such as poles) in the rights of way.

 

The letter included information outlining how this legislation would impact Minnesota specifically, given recent changes to our state Right-of-Way Management law that includes small cell wireless deployment provisions.

 

MACTA will be sharing the LMC letter on behalf of its members and strongly encourages you to also submit similar opposition letters to S. 3157 from your local governments to our senators and representatives. It is important to share your individual stories.

 

Please let senators and representatives know how you are responding to small cell applications and how you are working with industry and complying with the new state statute. We recommend that you send your letters of opposition in the next several weeks.

 

Contact your U.S. Senators and Congress Members

 

Here is a list of U.S. Senators and Congress members along with their email addresses. Please share your positive stories of cooperatively working with industry to deploy small cell wireless technology and your opposition to S.3157 (Thune & Schatz) bill. Email is the preferred way to correspond with elected officials.

 

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